Just thought I’d post what happened today at Mass.
Today our Parochial Vicar, new to our parish about three months ago, gave a shorter than usual homily and stated that he was doing so becuase he had a very important issue to discuss with us at the conclusion of Mass. Right before the final blessing and dismissal he came forward and said the following.
Note that I am paraphrasing, going from memory as best as I can…
***The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. The Eucharist is not symbolic. It is not a symbol of Jesus christ. It is the very body, blood, sould and divinity of Jesus Christ. We must understand what it is we are doing when we receive the Eucharist. We receive the body, blood sould and divinity of Jesus Christ and in so doing, Jesus also receives us. When we receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, we are incorporated into the mystical body of Christ.
This is why receiving the Eucharist must be a concious act. We must never receive Jesus as if we were eating ordinary food from a restaurant or from our refridgerator. We cannot come forward just because everyone else is doing it and it seems nice. We must decide to receive Jesus as a concious act.
We must receive Jesus only in a state of Grace. If you are not in a state of Grace and you feel that you may have some mortal sin to confess, please make use of confession first. You are welcome to come forward to receive a blessing instead.
If you invite a non-Catholic to Mass, please tell them that they are welcome to come forward for a blessing but that they are not welclome - they should not - receive the Eucharist. This is because they are not in full communion with Christ’s Church.
I would also like to offer some practical advice for receiving Jesus.
There is a lot of drama when people come forward that is not readily apparent to everyone. Some people approach the priest, deacon or minister with their hands out and their mouths open at the same time. Some people even have both their hands and tounges out. The priest, deacon or extraordinary minister must make a decision in a split second what to do. Please have either your hands out or your mouth open and tounge out but not both.
You are welcome to receive on either the tounge or the hand. Receiving on the tounge is a beautiful gesture of respect to our Lord if you know how to do it properly.
Some people stick their tounge out very quicly, like a snake (flicks tounge in and out - laughter). Please open your mouth partially and present your tounge as you approach, so that it is clear that you want to receive on the tounge to avoid the drama and don’t be like a snake.
Also please do not attempt to bite the Eucharist. Sometimes we have to actually snatch our hands away for fear of getting bitten. Also please do not try to suck the Eucharist out of our hand or to have us place it on your lips. Simply present your tounge and let the priest, deacon or minister place Jesus gently on your tounge.
Also, make sure that this is not the first time you have opened your mouth for the day. Please exercise your mouth a little in the morning prior to Mass, bruch your teeth, use mouthwash (laughter)… The priest, deacons or ministers don’t need to know what you had for dinner last night… (laughter).
If you receive in your hand, you must consume the Eucharist immediately. If anyone sees another walking away with the Eucharist, please let an usher or a priest or deacon know immediately. I will stop the reception, walk over to the person and ask them to consume the Eucharist immediately or I will ask for it back. I don’t care if people don’t like me for it or what anyone thinks of me. We have found the Eucharist after Mass sitting on the pews and even on the floor. I will not let this happen. .
When you approach to receive on your hand, keep them up, not down here (cups hands below the waist). Raise your hands up to the level of your heart. Make a throne (cups hands near his heart) with both your hands so that the priest, deacon or minister may place Jesus on the throne you have made and from which you will consume him.
After your receive Jesus and go back to your pew, you don’t need to see the whole world (rubbernecks, looks to and fro - lauthter). Bow your head instead and say a prayer of thanks and have some quiet time with Christ whom you have just received.
Parents, you must teach these things to your Children. You have a responsibility to begin speaking of these things in the morning before Mass, to shut off the radio in the car and speak of how you will be receiving Jesus. ***
Father went on for a little while and I think you get the point.
Some on these forums might complain that we have come so far that this even needs to be said. Some might complain that we have become too liberal or that we are becoming to conservative. Some might complain because it is the only thing they know how to do.
But the Church empied a little slower than usual today as everyone lined up to greet Father. I listened to family after family say things like, “I always thought that…?”, “Is it OK to…?” and “What should we do if…?” Their quesions were a testament to not only how much strong leadership in this area is needed, but to the desire of the laity, whether they acknowledge it or not, to be taught on the basics of the faith.
It was so encouraging to hear someone teach forcefully. This priest is from India, where radical Hindu’s have burned Christians alive. I for one am grateful for his words and his fearlessness and hope it is a harbinger of things to come - to reverence due to God.